Shelf Control #207: The Lost City of Z by David Grann

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Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!


Title: The Lost City of Z
Author: David Grann
Published: 2009
Length: 352 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve “the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century”: What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?

In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world’s largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation–which he dubbed Z–existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett’s fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness.

For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett’s party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett’s quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle’s green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett’s fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative.

How and when I got it:

I picked up a used copy over five years ago, I think.

Why I want to read it:

I had planned to read this book years ago! Every once in a while, I’m in the mood for a really good true-life adventure story, and I’d heard such good things about this one! I know there was a movie within the last couple of years (which I didn’t see), but I’ve always meant to read this book, and I probably should get to it already. It sounds like a great combination of action/adventure/exploration/mystery, which should keep things moving right along. Plus, I’ve read one book by this author, Killers of the Flower Moon, and thought it was so well researched and put together.

What do you think? Would you read this book? 

Please share your thoughts!


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  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
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Have fun!

7 thoughts on “Shelf Control #207: The Lost City of Z by David Grann

  1. I would read this, it sounds like a good mystery. The Amazon is such a mysterious place anyway, when people disappear there I want to know why!

    • For sure! It’s so different switching from fiction to non-fiction and reading a book where we already know that the main characters disappear.

  2. I would read it – I also read Killers of the Flower Moon and thought it was very well written. Thanks for reminding me about The Lost City of Z. It had been on my mental list and then I forgot about it!

  3. This was such a fantastic book! I could not put it down – the jungle adventure, the dangerous environment. Some do say that it was all overdramatised – especially certain aspects of actually experiencing the jungle – but all these elements did make the book more enjoyable and entertaining!

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